WALTHAM, Mass (Oct. 31)
Despite the legal recognition extended to the Jewish Community in the Soviet Union, Jews are denied the rights granted to other nationalities in the USSR, Soviet affairs specialist William Korey reported today at Brandeis University.
During the concluding session at Brandeis’ three-day Conference on the Status of Ethnic Minorities in the Soviet Union, Mr. Korey, director of the New York Bureau of the B’nai B’rith International Council, said Jews in the USSR suffer discrimination in many spheres–education, the use of their language and the observance of their religion. “This discrimination engenders, even among Russified Jews, a keen sense of ethnic consciousness which finds, however, few legal channels through which it could express itself,” he said.
The three-day conference, which began Friday, was organized by Brandeis’ new Institute of East European Jewish Affairs, a branch of the Philip W. Lown Graduate Center for Contemporary Jewish Studies at Brandeis. During the three days, the 20 scholars and authorities participating in the conference examined ethnic, economic and language questions that confront national groups within the 15 republics in the USSR.
Another speaker at today’s session, Elias Schulman, director of the Library of the Jewish Education Committee of New York, described the decline of Jewish education in the Soviet Union. After the liquidation of the Jewish section of the Communist Party in 1930, he said, there was a rapid decline of the Yiddish schools established by the government in the previous decade. Finally, said Mr. Schulman, all Jewish primary and secondary education in the Soviet Union became extinct.
The third speaker, Abraham Brumberg, editor of “Problems of Communism” for the U.S. Information Agency, said the Yiddish Journal “Sovetish Haymland,” was sanctioned by the Soviet Government to placate foreign critics of the treatment of the Jews in the Soviet Union and because of pressure by “liberal” Russian intellectuals who regard the treatment of the Jews in the USSR as a symptom of Stalinism.
Its literary quality is poor, he said, the result of Stalin’s elimination of the best Yiddish writers, and fear still strong in the Yiddish literary community. “It is doubtful whether Yiddish letters in the Soviet Union will ever rise again from the low level to which the Soviet regime has reduced them,” said Mr. Brumberg.